As an engineering student at Berkeley, Dubois felt the sting of being the only Hispanic in his fluid dynamics class, driving a need that still continues to build community and share his love for Latin American culture. What started off as informal gatherings with friends has evolved into the Bay Area’s No. 1 social network for Latino professionals, the LAM Network. With nearly 5,000 members, the organization offers educational, social, and philanthropic activities and plans to expand nationwide, starting with Los Angeles and New York in 2013. The South by Southwest Interactive Festival has nominated Dubois for its El Innovator Revolucion Award, which recognizes Latinos using social media as a platform for change. Dubois, who was born in Guatemala and moved here at age 14, met his wife, Sara Bakhtary ’04, at Berkeley’s International House. They have traveled to more than 40 countries and maintain a blog with photos, accounts, and tips.
As a teen, Jacob found his calling at the movies, where he was entranced by Luxo Jr., the now-iconic short film about a pint-sized desk lamp. He landed a dream internship at Pixar as a Cal undergraduate that led to more than 20 years with the animation studios, most recently as CTO and director of the studio tools group. Jacob lent his talents to Toy Story, Toy Story 2, A Bug’s Life, and Finding Nemo. In 2011, he heard the call of the startup and co-founded ToyTalk, a family entertainment company “powered by characters and conversation.” While mum’s the word on its forthcoming product — a talking teddy bear that uses artificial intelligence to communicate via an iPad — media reports are speculating over its technological innovation. Jacob’s company bio says he will “drop all of this in a heartbeat to become a pro snowboarder the minute that first sponsor shows up.” Follow Jacob on Twitter @orenjacob or ToyTalk on Facebook.
Honored by Newsweek as one of the “Women Shaping the 21st Century,” Shlain founded and led the Webby Awards — the global bellwether for honoring excellence on the web — for almost a decade before shifting her passions toward filmmaking. Her last four films premiered at Sundance, including Connected, an acclaimed feature documentary that explores the links among complex issues such as consumption, technology, and human rights as Shlain searches for her place in a fast-changing world. She is currently working on a new series of 15 short films aimed at inspiring global change. Brain Power: From Neurons to Networks, the newest film and a TED Book, examines the parallels between the development of a child’s brain and the development of the Internet. Shlain gave the keynote speech at UC Berkeley’s commencement in 2010. Visit her website, or follow her on Twitter @tiffanyshlain.
Like artists, architects have masterpieces, definitive works that perfectly capture their aesthetics and design vision. Frank Lloyd Wright’s was “Falling Water.” Chang’s is “Split House.” Since launching China’s first independent architectural firm, Atelier FCJZ, in 1993, Chang has become internationally recognized for his aesthetically intriguing and ecologically conscious marriage of traditional and modern design techniques in notable projects and installations worldwide. Chang founded the Graduate School of Architecture at Peking University in 1999 and later headed MIT’s Department of Architecture. The College of Environmental Design recognized him with its Distinguished Alumni Award in 2008.
“People have to feel welcomed by the building and the building has to embrace people,” said Yao, speaking to Taiwan Today about his design philosophy. Internationally acclaimed, Yao won the National Award for Arts in the architecture category — the highest honor in the field of culture and art in Taiwan. His firm, Artech Architects, specializes in corporate, residential, and cultural structures, as well as educational, transportation, and hotel facilities around the world. World Architecture Magazine noted in 1999 that Yao and his firm are at the “forefront of the revolution” in architecture in Taiwan. Yao is currently collaborating with Rem Koolhaas on the design of the Taipei Performing Arts Center. The College of Environmental Design recognized him with the Distinguished Alumni Award in 2005.
After running social service programs for 20 years — and painfully realizing that most of them don’t work — Lim Miller founded the Family Independence Initiative (FII) in Oakland in 2001 to help low-income working families get themselves out of poverty. Instead of forcing participants through job training and other conventional programs, FII encourages families to form small support groups and track their progress toward economic independence. It also pays them a small stipend for each achievement. FII has expanded to San Francisco, Oahu, and Boston and is seeing debts go down and incomes go up, among other promising successes. Lim Miller was one of 23 Americans to receive the coveted MacArthur Fellowship in 2012. Raised by a poor Mexican immigrant, he said of the fellowship, “I do this work to honor my mother’s struggle.” Follow FII on Twitter @FIInational or Facebook.
Life is very hard — and not very safe — for most agricultural workers around the world, but Rice is trying to change that. Founder of Fair Trade USA, the leading third-party certifier of fair trade products, he gives consumers an easy way to make a difference with their dollars. Buying fair trade products, whether it’s a cup of coffee, bar of chocolate, or bunch of bananas, improves the wages, working conditions, environment, and development efforts for farming communities worldwide. What consumers gain in taste, millions of workers gain in hope and pride for solving their own problems — what Rice calls the “the invisible dividend.” Though corporate skeptics once scoffed at the idea, Rice has gotten hundreds of companies to rework their supply networks. He is frequently recognized as one of the world’s top social entrepreneurs. Follow the company on Facebook or Twitter @FairTradeUSA.
You’d think the co-founder of Apple Computer would get first dibs on the company’s latest gadgets, but just like everyone else, Wozniak queued up early for his iPhone 5. Part geek, part icon, “The Woz” helped birth the PC revolution when he and the late Steve Jobs started Apple in 1976 and quickly turned out the first Apple I and II products. He received the National Medal of Technology in 1985, the highest honor for America’s leading tech innovators. A prolific philanthropist, Wozniak has poured sizable resources into education — even teaching children himself. In an interview with the College of Engineering’s Forefront magazine, Wozniak said, “Some people are so endeared to the Macintosh that it’s almost as gripping as a religion. I honestly believe that it’s about ‘thinking differently.'” Follow him on Twitter @stevewoz, or visit his website.
As the name suggests, Revolution Foods, co-founded by Tobey and Richmond, wants to change the way kids eat in school. Aimed at fighting childhood obesity, Revolution Foods serves fresh, healthy meals to more than 800 lunchrooms and over 200,000 kids daily and was named the second fastest growing inner-city business by Michael Porter’s Initiative for a Competitive Inner City in 2012. The kids receive one item each month that they may not have eaten before. “There is a glimmer in a kid’s eye when he realizes, ‘Hey, I like brown rice!’ that shows us he is getting engaged with food,” says Richmond. With more than 48 million meals served to date, that glimmer is the spark of a revolution. Follow the company on Facebook or Twitter @RevolutionFoods.
Wenner started a quirky rock-music biweekly in 1967 called Rolling Stone — and changed American culture. Treating the country’s increasingly vocal youth with a newfound seriousness, the magazine spoke for an entire generation through its definitive music coverage, provocative interviews, award-winning photography, and important investigative and political reporting. With 12 million readers today, Rolling Stone still serves as the ultimate source for music information and pop-culture trends. Wenner was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2004.